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The Power Of Peer Pressure Essay

941 words - 4 pages

Society is an intricate system that entails numerous factors to an individual’s growth as a person. These factors can range from simplistic to complex; a child’s upbringing in a particular neighborhood to a person determining a meticulous career. Both of those situations adhere to the ideology of human interaction and communication. Human interaction and communication can lead to events that place humans in the midst of peer pressure; this idea of peer pressure will play a contributing part for all humans and certainly can override a person’s moral beliefs. To ascertain the strength of peer pressure on humans, numerous experiments were conducted that placed humans in undesirable situations along with historical events that apply to peer pressure.
A man by the name of Stanley Milgram, Yale University psychologist, decided to test the power of peer pressure on humans in 1961. In his experiment, three people took part: the three were given the titles of experimenter, learner (victim), and teacher. The only true participant in the experiment was the teacher, the learner was an actor trained for the experiment; thus, the teacher was under the impression that everyone was a selected participant. The teacher and the learner were then placed in separate rooms where no visualization took place, but where communication was still in effect. The teacher was given an electric shock to emulate what the learner would be receiving throughout the experiment; the learner was then ordered by the teacher to answer a set of questions that would determine if the person would be shocked or not. For each incorrect answer the learner received a shock (in actuality not a real shock, but the teacher was under the impression it was) until the learner would complain about the painful shocks. As the experiment continued the voltage increased, which made nearly all participants begin to feel uncomfortable with the experiment and wished to check on the learners. The teachers were then ordered by the experimenter to continue with it and explained to the teachers they would not be held responsible for it. The screams of the learners (recorded tape), responsibility, and peer pressure all influenced the teachers actions whether to continue with the experiment or quit.
The results came back conclusive on the behalf of peer pressure. In Milgram’s first set of experiments, 65% of participants administered the strongest voltage shock (450), although many were not comfortable in doing so. At one point, every single participant in the experiment paused and inquired about why the learners were being shocked for this, but many continued once informed that the testing was acceptable.
Clearly the peer pressure associated with the test is a huge...

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